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Emad-ud-Deen Richard Leiman's Testimony (from his homepage)
As a child I always had access to a short-wave radio. I used to listen to the BBC World Service and the Middle East. I also loved the music from that part of the world and I probably was listening to the Quran being recited, but did not know it at the time.
As I grew older:
As I grew older I still listened to the BBC World Service mostly. Back then, they had a programme called "Words of Faith" where they had a 5 to 8 minute talk given by a different religious speaker each day of the week representing all the major religions in the UK. Out of all the speakers, I loved it when the Muslim spoke.
Every time he spoke, I wanted to find out more about Islam. My impression of the Islam was one in which the person who practices Islam was a happy person, not like the mean people portrayed by the American media. I just refused to believe people that loved Allah so much could be like the people portrayed by the media. Since I come from a Jewish background, the thing that united me with Islam was the belief that Allah had no partners.
Working in the UK:
Then came an important time in my life where I was about to meet a real Muslim, but did not know it yet. I was doing contracting computer programming work in New York state when the urge to visit the UK was very strong.
I took a visit to London and loved it. During my visit I went to several employment agencies without luck. One of the agencies gave me several trade magazines. When I arrived back in the states I started to send more CVs to companies and other agencies in the magazines. Again I came to the UK because one of the companies wanted to interview me. Then I started to visit more companies and agencies when I landed a position even though I was on a visitors visa. The company applied for a work permit and the Department of Employment told us that I had to leave the country in order to process the paperwork. Again I went back to the states. Another Agency obtained a temporary work permit and hired me to the company called LogoTech, at that time was in Egham, Surrey.
Meeting a real Muslim for the first time:
Some time after I was working at LogoTech, I found out that my supervisor Anis Karim was Muslim. I asked him if he knew how I could get a copy of the Holy Quran. To my surprise, I had a copy of the Quran within a few days. He also asked me to make a pledge. I pledged to make sure that I would have a bath before I read from the Quran and that I would never show it to anyone who may make blasphemous remarks about it. The next day, I took my morning bath and made breakfast. Then whilst eating breakfast I started to read. Later I found out that READ is what Allah had the angel Gabriel instruct our beloved prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to do, even though HE COULD NOT READ OR WRITE!
Well, words can't describe how I felt when I read just that small portion of the worlds most holy book. It took only 10 pages when I told myself that this religion was for me. This was around 1990. The more I read, the more I wanted to know and loved what I was reading. Also at the time I did not know anything about how to pray or any of the details of Islam. If Anis had invited me to go the Masjid in London, I would have gone with him. The only thing I knew about praying to Allah was the Shazute position. At the time I knew that Muslims prayed several times a day and I started to do so at night before I went to bed and in the morning when I woke up.
Back to the states again:
When the work permit ran out. I had to come back to the states and was unemployed for several years. I visited my father in Huntsville, Alabama and created a database application for him. I saw that Huntsville was a high tech cosmopolitan city and decided to try and land a programming position there. My father told me that if I did not get a position, I would have to go back to New Jersey to my mother. They moved from New York to New Jersey. About a fortnight before I was going to go back to New Jersey, I landed a programming position at a company in Huntsville.
Planning a trip to a Muslim country:
My sister and I were planning a trip to Indonesia because we had a pen-pal on the internet. My sister asked me if I could help her find Islamic Jewelry as a gift. At that time I had no idea that there were Muslims in Huntsville.
My first trip to a Masjid (Mosque):
Then Allah put things into place. I remembered that there was a shop called Crescent Imports which I thought was run by Muslims. It was not. It was run by the group called Nation Of Islam. Now here is the strange part in which only Allah could be put in place. We spoke to the owner of the shop and told him that we wanted to find Islamic jewelry. He directed us to the Huntsville Islamic Center.
I do thank Allah for having them direct me to the Masjid. We went to the building, but there was only one car parked there. I spoke to a man in the car, and he told us that we should speak to the Imam about where to find the Jewelry. I was still afraid to go into the building because to me it is such a holy place.
Invitation to pray with other Muslims:
I saw a lady at work wearing a Hijaab. I told her about my accepting Islam personally and she said "why don't you visit the Masjid in Huntsville?" We eventually went back to the Masjid after I summed up enough courage to go into that a holy place. We spoke to the Imam and he invited me to make Salat with the Brothers. This was a turning point in my life. I loved it and started to come to the Masjid once a week at night. Then I started to come several times a week at night. The urge to come more times was stronger and now I make all 5 prayers each day mostly at the Masjid, except Asr and Margrib when at work.
I officially accepted Islam!!!!!!!!!!
In November of 1996 I publicly made Shahada. At work I pray Duhur and Asr by myself or with other brothers in a small Mosque right in the work place! I proudly carry my prayer mats in the work hallways in an attempt to get people to ask me what they are (a form of Dawah). When this happens I tell them that I am Muslim and the mats are what I use for prayers. Also, my work area has Islamic decorations all over the place, and that includes my computer where the graphic on the screen is that of the Kabah or our Masjid.
I am also a member of the Dawah Committee at the Masjid and am also trying to make Dawah by providing this very web page.
Now that I am a Muslim, (One who submits to Allah) there is no turning back to unbelief!!!!!
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